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Renate Ragsdale

1927 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Renate Ragsdale Obituary
Renate Marreel Ragsdale (Boi)

GREAT FALLS —Renate Marreel Ragsdale (Boi) passed away at her home in the presence of her family on April 1, 2017, from stroke complications.

Renate was born May 21, 1927 in Berlin, Germany to Helena and Ernst Boi. During World War II, she was taken by the Nazi's and forced to work as a seamstress for them. She spent 2 years in the concentration camp before escaping and marrying her first husband, Michel V. Marreel of 47 years. In 1949, she came to the United States via boat where she was naturalized and raised 4 children, Doris Marcum, Peter Marreel, Maria (Irvin) Campbell, and Daniel (Jamie) Marreel in Hardin, Montana. Later she would move to Great Falls where her 11 grandchildren would be born. She worked in the hospital for 23 years while caring full-time for her husband who became ill. She would become the great-grandmother to 19 children and complete 5 generations twice prior to her death. Renate's first husband passed in 1995.

She married James Ragsdale in 1998, whom she cherished for nearly 12 years before he passed. She moved to Polson for a few months and then back to Great Falls, where her daughter, Doris and granddaughter cared for her until the day of her death.

Renate loved caring for her family, volunteering for the Catholic ministries and nursing homes, needlepoint, crocheting, knitting, baking, and cooking for all those she knew. She was a part of the German community in Great Falls. She carried her German accent and broken English her entire 89 years of life.

Renate leaves a legacy of survival to all of those she loved. Even after her stroke she wished to laugh and fought to stay with her family.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, Michel V. Marreel; 2nd husband, James R. Ragsdale; son-in-law William A. Marcum; daughter-in-law Earlene Sue Marreel; and grandson James A. Hamilton.

A celebration of Renate's life will take place on Monday June 5, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at Peaks to Prairie Event Center, 23 Dick Road. Please bring your children and join us.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at
Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 28, 2017
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